A new comparison of the top 10 most-streamed artists on streaming services Spotify, SoundCloud and YouTube shows the difference in the audiences for the three. SoundCloud appeals to streamers of more underground music, while Spotify and YouTube streams are more mass appeal.
We've been reporting recently on SoundCloud and the pressure it is receiving from major music labels, which are insisting they get paid for much of the unlicensed content streamed on the service. The unique issue with much of SoundCloud's content is that it includes a large number of EDM (Electronic Dance Music) and hip-hop DJ mixes, remixes and mashups, which include bits and pieces of other artists' work, a category known as "derivative works." SoundCloud is known as the preferred streaming service of the underground EDM and hip-hop communities, and a new report listing the top 10 artists on it and other streaming services demonstrates this.
The top 10 artists streamed this year on SoundCloud are, in order, Drake, Major Lazer, G-Eazy, Future, Kygo, PARTYNEXTDOOR, Chris Brown, Kid Ink, The Weeknd and Chance The Rapper. The top 10 artists streamed on Spotify so far this year are Calvin Harris, Chris Brown, Drake, Ed Sheeran, Pitbull, Sam Smith, David Guetta, Wiz Khalifa, Nicki Minaj and Ellie Goulding. The top 10 most popular official YouTube pages are Maroon 5, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Nicky Jam, Ariana Grande, Ed Sheeran, Enrique Iglesias, Beyoncé, David Guetta and Meghan Trainor.
Clearly, there is a huge disparity in the types of artists that are most popular on each service. No single artist appears on all three lists. YouTube is the go-to spot for the most mainstream and commercial artists, with household names like Maroon 5, Katy Perry and Rihanna occupying the top three, yet appearing nowhere on either of the other two lists. Instead, both Spotify and SoundCloud lean heavily toward EDM and hip-hop artists.
While there is some crossover between Spotify and SoundCloud's most popular artists, SoundCloud listeners clearly veer most heavily toward the dance and hip-hop underground, with artists such as Kygo, who is known for his tropical house productions and remixes, and DJ Diplo's Major Lazer project appearing at the top, but not on either of the other lists. Interestingly, the EDM artists that placed in the top 10 on YouTube and Spotify, DJ/Producers Calvin Harris and David Guetta, are nowhere to be seen on the SoundCloud list, indicating their crossover success relies on a fan base other than the young EDM tastemakers who prefer SoundCloud.